Evocative U

(ee-vok'-uh-tiv) Bringing strong images, memories, or feelings to mind

Glenn Murray

Written by Glenn Murray. I design and build cool software. CV

Here's my latest think piece.

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May Day, my first day in Paris, was not a typical day, with most of the city shut down on French Labor Day.

Even in a country known for its protests and strikes, the level of discontent has escalated significantly during the last year, with often violent protests (manifestations) being staged throughout France because of economic inequities. President Macron's latest proposals were angrily dismissed, with May Day protests set to take place throughout the city. With much of the violence this year taking place around the Champs-Elysées, the French authorities made it clear that no protests would be allowed there today, so there was a substantial military presence, shutting down most of the areas around the palaces and museums.

The Tuileries were open, though eerily empty. The gardens are beautiful in Spring, oblivious to the surrounding tension.

I don't go into war zones, and was not about to seek out the protest spots here, which indeed turned violent.

Just two weeks ago, Lyra McKee, a young gay Irish journalist/activist, was killed by crossfire in Derry, Northern Ireland - 37 years after my cousin Philip was killed in nearby Ballykelly in an IRA bombing.

Plus ça change, plus c'est le même chose.

I stayed in Paris at Hotel Bowmann, a new hotel on Boulevard Haussmann. The hotel was designed in the style of the classic Parisian apartments that line the boulevard, which is named after Baron Haussmann, who designed and built modern-day Paris as we know it.

I have always enjoyed bidets in Europe, and still wonder why they haven't caught on in America. My hotel room had the most phenomenal combination toilet/bidet I have ever used. Controls included oscillate, pulsate, pressure and position. I've included pics in the slideshow, a first for my blog.

This was fun. At the hotel restaurant, my entree of black cod was garnished with dried seaweed that reacted to the heat and created movement that reminded me of alit butterflies. And the cod was exquisite.

The highlight of this visit to Paris was an extraordinary new museum - Atelier des Lumiéres - presenting immersive multimedia experiences.

In the featured exhibition, Van Gogh paintings are projected onto the surfaces of a converted foundry. Along with a varied and emotional musical score, shifting perspectives and occasional animations were employed to stunning effect.

I caught a fantastic Gio Ponti exhibition at the Museum of Decorative Arts in Paris. Like his contemporaries - Wright and Jacobsen - Ponti was a trendsetting designer working across multiple disciplines. He started his career in porcelain, then moved on to glass, metals, furniture, interiors and architecture.

It was fascinating watching his style evolve - from 20's Art Deco to the forefront of Modernism. Ponti played a huge role in creating our modern world.

The Museum of Decorative Arts is always a favorite stop in Paris. Along with the Ponti exhibition and a lovely lunch at the museum restaurant, a stroll through the museum's collections made for a great afternoon.

On my visit to the Louvre, I was particularly smitten by two Caravaggio stunners, a host of Rafaels, a very young Durer self-portrait, and Arcimboldo's Four Seasons.

I left plenty of time for shopping, though I was disappointed with the crowds at Galeries Lafayette and Printemps. Apparently the worldwide increase in tourism is causing the crowds in these Parisian classics to approach critical mass. Fortunately my favorite store, Bon Marche, has so far flown mostly under the tourist radar.